Codeshare with Air Vanuatu
Air Niugini has started direct flights between Port Moresby and Townsville. The airline’s chairman, Sir Frederick Reiher, says the new flights, which started on March 31, will benefit both Papua New Guinea and Townsville in many ways – including education, business, agriculture, freight and sports.
He says the service will also help over 5000 Papua New Guineans in the PNG community in and around Townsville to reunite with their families back home.
“It’s an opportunity for former PNG citizens and residents who now live in Townsville to visit PNG, reunite with family and friends, and perhaps look at opportunities in the small-business sector.
“There are also strong links already in sport, especially rugby league, but also between our church groups, schools, health and other community groups. It will also benefit Townsville and regional Queensland rugby league teams playing in the Intrust cup, as well as our own PNG SP Hunters. PNG has many fans of the North Queensland Cowboys who will now find it easier to travel and watch the home games. This direct service will reduce travel time and costs for them,” Sir Frederick says.
“This service will also assist organisations such as Youth With A Mission ( YWAM) with the uplift of their volunteers, medical and other supplies in and out of Townsville, enabling them to continue and expand the splendid work they are doing in PNG to help people in rural communities.”
Sir Frederick has urged North Queenslanders to take advantage of the new flights and accommodation packages to explore the many attractions in PNG.
The Port Moresby/ Townsville direct services operate every Monday and Friday, departing Port Moresby at 9:55am and arriving in Townsville at 11:45am. The return flight departs Townsville at 12:30pm and arrives in Port Moresby at 2:20pm. ■
NRL legend reveals what he loves about Townsville, see page 20. Air Niugini and Air Vanuatu have implemented a codeshare agreement that will increase traffic between the two nations and beyond. The first flight under the arrangement operated on March 28.
Air Niugini chief executive officer, Simon Foo, says the codeshare benefits passengers from both countries because it introduces competition between airlines to sell seats on their aircraft.
“The codeshare agreement also allows passengers in both markets to make seamless connections, and to have a wider choice through fares and tickets than currently available.
“Customers from both airlines will continue to enjoy the choice of schedule, comfort, frequent-flyer programs and access to the lounge.”
Air Vanuatu’s chief executive officer, Joseph Laloyer, also welcomed the codeshare services.
“Part of our strategic planning is building relationships with other carriers that enable Air Vanuatu to tap in to new markets and thus bring more traffic to Vanuatu,” he says.
Air Niugini is operating a Boeing 737 aircraft for this service. It operates twice weekly, every Tuesday and Thursday, to Port Vila via Honiara, and returns the next day (Wednesday and Friday).
In a codeshare agreement, both airlines participate in selling seats on an aircraft, one as an operating carrier and the other as the marketing carrier.
Under this arrangement, Air Niugini is the operating carrier and Air Vanuatu, as the marketing carrier, is able to place its ‘NF’ code on all Air Niugini flights operating between Port Moresby and Port Vila. This includes the intermediate sector between Honiara, Solomon Islands and Port Vila.
Apart from Air Vanuatu, Air Niugini also has codeshare agreements with Qantas of Australia and Solomon Airlines. ■
VIP occasion (from right) Air Niugini chairman, Sir Frederick Reiher; PNG’s prime minister, Peter O’Neill; the mayor of Townsville, Jenny Hill, in Townsville for the first flight.